The Blind Side

Well as you know, my reviews here are pretty much exclusive of older films. So with that in mind, here’s a film from 2009! Staring Quinton Aaron (Michael Oher) and Sandra Bullock (Leigh Anne Touhy) who won an Oscar for her leaden role in the film.

Based on a true story, the film follows the story of, big friendly and slow black giant from the projects in Memphis Tennessee. With little education in his life, does not know his father and his mom is a crack addict, life is not nice for Michael. By chance, he is given a a place at a Christian school by their football coach who sees Michael as their star defender.

Being a huge late teenager starting in a class with kids barely in their teens, life is at first hard for Michael at his new school. However little child, S.J Tuohysees the giant as a lost soul and make friends with the big guy. One wet, cold night, while making his way to the gym or as he knows it “home”, the child’s parents chance upon Michael and give him a roof for the night at their sizeable home.

One night turns into weeks and slowly but surely they build a bond between them and realise his talent for defending not only in football but in life itself. The key to his future though relies on him needing to graduate and so hires a private tutor (Kathy Bates), a role no doubt helped by that fact she was born in Tennessee.

At first though despite his size and protective nature, he does not do too well at football and his coach has no clue how to teach the giant bear how to play the game.

So in steps Leigh Anne and shows Michael what he needs to do in the only way he can relate to, from there on in football is his future.

He ends up being the the first draft pick for the NFL in 2009.

So that’s the basic outline and I have to say I love this film. I hate to use the term “feel good film”, because, well, in most cases it’s a film and people watch films as an escapism not as a guiding light.

But given that this is based (fairly strongly) on fact I can see this as a feel good film. Not that most can benefit from it and make a change for the better (that’s what I call a real “feel good film/documentary”); however it is a film that lifts the spirit and even shed a tear for sadness growing into joy.

As mentioned, Sandra Bullock won the leading actress for her role. I’m a HUGE Sandra fan, but she’s a very hard cause to fight for. Ever since Speed, much of her film career has been stinkers, but I can’t help but love her. However, in this she does play a blinder of a role, akin to Julia Roberts‘ role in Erin Brockovich though I think Julia did far better than Sandra.

There are big similarities, being a strong based-on-fact woman and a role vastly different from their norm. Both are incredibly good looking for their age, however Julia certainly pulls of the push-up bra better than Sandra does in this film (which must surely have been deliberate). But, and this is a big but, it was fantastic to see Sandra actually work for her money.

To see her in this role proves that she has been a wasted talent and I would assume she hasn’t had many roles like this given to her. I can only imagine she leapt at the chance to be in this film. Sadly it seems, it’s not been a case of a career revival and has been given more roles like this.

The big centre point in this film is the deep south of love, of God and with Christianity overcoming racism. At points the black card is played and is better dealt with in some scenes than others, but given that allegedly the real Tuohy’s applied a big part in this adaptation, time constraints played more than their part in this.

Credit has to go to the other members of the family who make this feel like a great household to depart of. Much credit has to go to Jae Head. His closeness to Michael looks and feel genuine as the whole family takes this stranger and make him instantly a part of the family. Their religion is never forced down are throats as actually Christianity per se, but having not read the book, this is possibly Hollywood glossing over a few aspects of the real events.

Overall I really liked this film, while it was obvious it was “Sandra’s time” at the Oscars she has not moved much from the rom-coms since, she played a great role as does Quinton in his. This makes for defending the Sandra Bullock Fan Club a harder cause to fight for. After the massive disappointment of Johnny English Reborn which was watched immediately preceding this, it was a great watch.

Reviewed by Invisiblekid

Kiefer Sutherland has the right Touch

Kiefer Sutherland is returning to the small screen with an ambitions new drama from the creator of Heroes.

Touch, Sutherland’s first television series gig since his long-running 24, revolves around Martin Bohm, a widower and single father who learns that his emotionally challenged son, Jake, can see hidden patterns that connect every life on the planet. Martin must then put the pieces together and help others across the world connect.

Check out the official trailer to Touch:

Written and created by Tim Kring, this new supernatural drama seems intriguing. So why is Kiefer heading back to television so soon after 24? The Canadian actor explains:

“[The script] had a profound effect one me. The reason I made the choice was because it spoke to me,” he says.

And in regard to comparisons to his new character to Jack Bauer, Sutherland explains: “The real driving force for my character is to communicate with my son. The rest of the stuff is really for the audience and how one thing can affect another. The one parallel that I can bring from the two characters is that Jack Bauer was asked to save the day and there were always going to be casualties.

“And this character Martin Bohm is never going to have the perfect idyllic relationship with his son. They’ll both never completely win, and that is one thing that I’m drawn to certainly as an actor.”

And, much to Sutherland’s relief, his Touch character isn’t running around the entire episode. “He gets to sit down and he gets to have an intimate conversation,” he says. “This is not a serialized show like 24 was. There’s a beginning a middle and an end. There’s almost an immediate result in a situation.”

It all sounds promising but what about the 24 movie? When will the initial shooting take place?

“Hopefully we will be shooting end of April, beginning of May,” Sutherland reveals.

Oh yes! Kiefer Sutherland is back and will be making his presence on the small and big screen this year.

Raikkonen back behind the wheel

Former Formula One world champion Kimi Raikkonen made his return to the track after two years away during a private test session with Lotus-Renault.

The Iceman drove a 2010-spec Renault R30 at Valencia due to the testing restriction.

Sporting a new helmet design on his return, Raikkonen took to the wheel of the Renault-powered car – painted in the team’s contemporary black and gold livery and using Pirelli’s demonstration-spec rubber – for an installation lap.

The Finn is taking part in a two-day session designed to help him reacclimatise himself with modern-spec Grand Prix machinery. His first test with the team’s 2012 car will take place at Jerez next month.

Raikkonen last raced in Formula One in 2009, when he was dropped by Ferrari and chose to switch to the World Rally Championship for the following year. He competed for only two seasons.

Keen to return to racing, however, Raikkonen briefly tried the NASCAR truck series last year before eventually agreeing a deal with Lotus to return to the sport this year.

“There were different choices for this year but I really wanted to do racing – I did some NASCAR last year and I really enjoyed competing against people again,” he said.

“It was then that I decided to do some racing again and F1 is the highest level of racing and where people want to be.

“It takes a little bit of time to get used to it, but the main bits of driving – braking, turning, the normal things – don’t take many laps. But learning about the car, the team and the tyres will take time.”

It’s so great to see the Iceman back in Formula One and the amount of attention from various motor racing websites and social network reveal how popular Kimi Raikkonen is. Hopefully, the Finn will rediscover his winning speed and can compete against the other champions on the grid this season with full confidence.

Video of Raikkonen in action at Valencia:

Bruno Senna to drive for Williams Renault in 2012

Following months of speculation, Williams has finally confirmed the long awaited news that Bruno Senna will drive for the team alongside Pastor Maldonado.

The 28-year-old Brazilian secured one of the two remaining seats in Formula One in 2012. He will take over Rubens Barrichello’s place at Williams.

Senna said: “I feel very privileged that Williams has selected me as one of their race drivers. The team has a great heritage and I hope I can help write a good chapter in their history.

“The evaluation process has been intense and methodical but the time I have spent in the factory has demonstrated that the team has great people and all the resources needed to achieve better things this season.

Senna, the nephew of three-time world champion Ayrton, made his Grand Prix debut with the Hispania team back in 2010, but could not secure a seat for the start of the 2011 season.

He eventually replaced Nick Heidfeld at the Renault team from last year’s Belgian Grand Prix, but the team decided to hire Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean for this season. Senna managed two points in eight races in last season’s campaign.

Rumours of Bruno Senna linking with Williams lasted for months and when the Grove-based team officially announce the news on January 17, a cause of celebration emerged from various motorsport forums and social network sites.

For Bruno Senna, he will get his chance to represent the great Williams team when he takes to the race track on February 9, the first day of official Formula One testing at Jerez.

The move is rich in symbolism. As his uncle, Ayrton Senna, was in his third race for Williams-Renault when he lost his life in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

“It will be very interesting to drive for a team that my uncle has driven for, particularly as quite a few of the people here actually worked with Ayrton. Hopefully we can bring back some memories and create some great new ones too.

“I also want to get some good results in return for the support my country has given me to help get me to this position today. I am very proud to be Brazilian and more motivated than ever to demonstrate what I can do. Ever since I first sat in a go-kart I never wanted to do anything else.”

The move means Rubens Barrichello looks set to be absent from Formula One for the first time in twenty years.

The Brazilian said on Twitter after the announcement that his “future is wide open”.

The Beeb’s Formula One commentary team

With Sky revealing its dream team last year, it’s the Beeb’s turn to announce the line-up of talented presenters, journalists and experts that will form this season’s BBC F1 coverage.

On the television side, Jake Humphrey remains as the main anchorman. Joining him will be Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard. Expect the usual trio to talk about the latest rumours and news from the pit-lane and paddock this season!

Reporting from the view of the commentary box is the excellent Ben Edwards. His enthusiasm and commentating style is a popular choice with fans and media alike. And when the news was announced last year, his Twitter account gained new followers due to his popularity!

David Coulthard will join Edwards in the commentary box and it will be fascinating how the pair will get on covering the qualifying sessions and the race. Comparisons will be made with DC and Martin Brundle (who is now at Sky) plus the Eurosport era of Edwards and John Watson.

Former Jordan technical director Gary Anderson will provide technical analysis while Lee McKenzie remains as the pit-lane reporter.

As for Radio 5 Live, former ITV commentator James Allen is back behind the microphone. Jennie Gow, who will be reporting from the pit-lane, will join him on the radio waves.

With these new signings, the wealth of motorsport experience is impressive and it will be interesting which media coverage will gain the most listeners/viewers over the course of the season due to the split between Sky Sports and the BBC.

What’s my personal opinion? Both have an excellent team of reporters and with the promise of an expanded coverage available on radio, online plus a dedicated High Definition television channel, I and the million plus of Formula One fanatics are in for a treat this season.